Sheffield Hallam University’s Men’s 1s sealed a comfortable 4-0 victory against the University of Sheffield at Abbeydale.
Both sides came into this match having endured difficult campaigns in their retrospective leagues, so both will have been wanting to end their season on a high.
It was an extremely tight first half, with both sides creating few chances to break the deadlock. Jack Simpkins did have the ball in the back of the net around eight minutes before half-time for Hallam, but it was disallowed by the officials.
Uni of had a superb a chance to open the scoring just before the break, but Hallam goalkeeper Torran Hockley did well to close down the forward’s angle and prevent the ball from finding the back of the net.
After what was an even first half, the second half was anything but. Hallam really asserted their dominance. Chris Gardener put his side 1-0 up 10 minutes after the break, converting a well-worked penalty corner.
Gardener doubled Hallam’s advantage soon afterwards with almost a carbon copy of his first strike. It gave Uni of a mountain to climb, and they were visually dejected on the pitch.
Hallam came within inches of making it 3-0 a couple of minutes later, as Simpkins deflected a speculative effort just over the bar. However, Simpkins was involved in Hallam’s eventual third goal, as his shot was cleared off the line before it fell perfectly for Jack Hartley to tap home.
There was no doubt that Hallam were worthy winners based on their second half dominance. Gardener sealed his hat trick on what was his first ever appearance at Varsity with a composed finish to make it 4-0, much to the delight of the Hallam supporters in attendance.
Hallam captain Ethan Chapman was delighted with his side’s second half performance. He said: “In the first half we got outplayed by Uni, but they couldn’t put it past our keeper.”
“In the second half, we played as we know we can play. Our defensive intensity was a lot stronger in the second half. We started playing our patterns.”
The University of Sheffield captain Nick Hale was disappointed with the manner that his side conceded the goals in the second half. He said: “In the first half we were class, but just couldn’t find the back of the net. It was some of the best hockey that Uni has played in years.
“In the second half we conceded four very avoidable goals. The scoreline doesn’t reflect it at all. It’s gutting for the lads who are graduating as people will look at the score but it doesn’t really reflect the game.”